Greg Humphries, 1947-2023 — ‘His Heart Belonged to Everyone’

The Canyon ChronicleBy The Canyon Chronicle

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Greg Humphries, 1947-2023 — ‘His Heart Belonged to Everyone’
Judge Kathryn Solorzano “I just learned of his departure…Absolutely loved everything about this lawyer and man… I will be thinking about him every day for a long while… A good man, a great lawyer… The world was a better place because he lived.” Greg’s long-time AA sponsor, Tom W. “Greg is truly my hero. He showed up for life. He always gave his best, as a father, a defense attorney, a husband, and a friend to all who needed help. I’m privileged and proud to have known him well and to be able to call him my brother in sobriety. Sobriety wasn’t easy for him but he kept at it for 31 years by helping others, again and again!  He loved his wife Megan and their two daughters beyond measure. He often worked 80 hours a week at his practice but always found time to volunteer on AA panels at the Veteran’s Administration in West LA. He loved golf and was very accomplished. And he loved baseball, especially the Dodgers. He went to many games and always took his glove “just in case.” The world is a much better place because Greg was in it!” I miss him, I love him, and I trust that in the hereafter he’s hitting it long and straight. He’s winning a case before the Supreme Court. And he’s celebrating a family event with all of his loved ones, now and forever!”
Jon and Diane Ewing
March 17, 2017
My God, you are 70 years old! How can this be? The rest of us chose to remain young (a common delusion) but you have just plunged into the very whirlwind of passing time – almost glorying in the ravages you have endured. You have become a veritable patriarch. But 70 years means you are twice as energetic as when you were 35. Simple math dude. Not sure it means four times as energetic as when you were 17 1/2. When you were 17 1/2, you drank four chocolate milkshakes, ate two pounds of Cheetos, watched six bad TV shows in a row and still had time not to do your geometry homework. So times have changed a bit since then though the geometry assignment is still overdue.

You graduated from UCLA with honors and a lot of parking tickets. You served bravely in Vietnam which to this date you can’t remember one minute of—a blessing. You did receive a good conduct medal, but it was awarded by the Vietcong. You attended law school at UCLA, met a lot of shady young lawyers, which helped prepare you for the many criminals you would defend.

You met, fell in love with, and wed the lovely, talented artist, Megan Rice. You assisted her in creating two of her greatest sculptures, Rabyn and Lael, each of whom blossomed into beautiful youth and womanhood. Both were loving, loyal, daughters, and both had the good sense not to hit you up for the occasional $20, knowing you would not have it.

Your legal career has been so varied and illustrious that there is no need to remark on it here. With the utmost altruism and self-sacrifice, you chose not to pursue the path to the U.S. Supreme Court (for which all said you were meant for) in order to defend pickpockets, shoplifters, litterbugs, vagrants, creek rats, scofflaws, and other petty actors. All of them saw that you defended them brilliantly. Few were convicted. They were deeply grateful, but chose to pay you with bad checks, or worse, promises.

Topanga Canyon has known your steady presence for 40 years. Your skills as a naturalist, bird watcher, fire warden, hiker, and raconteur brought you the admiration of many. You treated every rattlesnake as you would your fellow lawyers…with distance and disdain. The coyotes you welcomed as equals. Now, at 70, you’ve acquired wisdom, better health, and an even greater spin to your always robust sense of humor. It has been an honor to know you and love you all these years. You are a rare and genuine human being on this continent of falsehood. Thank you for carrying on.

From top, Greg and Megan touring on the Danube river in 2017; A young father with daughters well in hand; Greg with Rabyn all grown up; Greg with Lael in Point Reyes
John Ewing
August 6, 2023
Six years ago, I wished you a humorous Happy Birthday, Gregor. You always had a wild sense of humor. Your great exploding laugh I lived for. Now more years have passed and you, too have passed, our remarkable, loyal, lovable eccentric father, husband, friend. Somehow, you are gone though surely you’re with us here today, your presence too vivid and abiding for mere death to brush aside.

I know how deeply you believed in justice for all, defended those most in need of defense in our often pitiless country. I loved you, Greg, thought you a heroic figure, working uphill against all the odds. You never gave up. Now that is our task. You will live on in our memories and our hearts always. And now we surround with love your amazing artist wife, Megan, and your two dear beautiful daughters, Rabyn and Lael. Peace to them. And peace to you too, Gregor.

John Burke
Remembering Our Friend, Gregory Humphries
I first met Greg in classes at UCLA in 1966. He has always been steadfastly courageous, generous to a fault, gentlemanly-graceful, Humble, and a recognized protector of justice.
Steadfastly Courageous: In the early days, in Westwood, a group of us would go to a local pizza joint that offered an open mic to anyone who wanted to entertain the patrons. There was no Karaoke monitor or accompanying music for those who sang, and the crowd was not easy to please. One evening Greg walked up, took the mic and proceeded to belt out an early nineteen hundreds song, “Peg of My Heart” a cappella and all from memory. It was then that I realized the extent of his courage. It was in those early college days that I introduced Greg to Topanga when I lived here with my wife to be, Germaine, who was born in Topanga. Greg would visit us and loved the Canyon. In 1967, he attended our wedding at the Self Realization Fellowship Shrine and blessed the union.

Years later (1979), at my 35th birthday party, he met and soon thereafter, married the woman he sang about, except that, instead of “Peg,” it turned out to be “Meg of My Heart.” Meg is a Topanga home grown, which undoubtedly added to the immediate attraction.

Generous to A Fault. A mutual friend of ours was suffering from PTSD due to the ravages of his time in Viet Nam. He finally went “off the rails” and desperately needed help. I called Greg and explained the situation. Within an hour Greg made contact with him and arranged for him to attend Greg’s scheduled meeting with his counselor the next day at the VA center in Westwood. Because of Greg’s act of generosity, our friend began his journey to heal; became a regular at the VA; and ultimately counseled young vets similarly damaged during their tours of duty in Iraq and Afghanistan.

Gentlemanly-Graceful. One evening in late October 2010 Greg invited me to an LA Clippers basketball game to see their new great player Blake Griffin. We parked in a free open lot down the street from the sports center, an unlit, desolate area, with nearby homeless encampments. It was after 6 p.m. and dark. As we walked from the car, we came upon a woman heading towards her car in the same lot. Greg offered to accompany her safely to her car. Once she was on her way, we continued toward the game. As we started, a loud voice bellowed from an encampment behind some bushes: “LEONARD! THAT THERE IS A GENTLEMAN… DID YOU SEE HIM… AN OLD SCHOOL GENTLEMAN!”
No doubt about it… an old-school graceful gentlemen!

A Popular Protector of Justice. A longtime employee of mine, Daniel, who Greg helped out of several brushes with the law, called me one morning and asked for “Gregorio” to come get him out of jail. He was in a cell with 20 or 30 other detainees. Greg made haste and had Daniel walking from the cell that same morning. The other inmates were so impressed, they asked Daniel, “Who’s your lawyer?” Daniel yelled back: “GREGORIO”—He didn’t know Greg’s last name—whereupon, the mass of prisoners started screaming to the keeper of the key: “WE WANT GREGORIO… WE WANT GREGORIO!” No better test of his dedication as a “Protector of Justice” than from those who benefited from his efforts.
Humble. Never a peep from Greg taking credit for any of this, EVER!

It’s strange, but, for Germaine and me, Greg is still very much here and we generally speak of him in the present tense.
The Canyon Chronicle

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September 1, 2023